Vitamin D and prostate cancer — the saga continues

There is significant evidence that serum levels of vitamin D have impact on the overall health of people as they age, and there has been some (largely laboratory-based) evidence of a specific association between vitamin D levels and risk for prostate cancer. It has to be said, however, that a specific linkage between vitamin D levels and risk for (or progression of) prostate cancer has never been compellingly established.

A recent study by Barnett et al. focused on the possibility of an association between vitamin D and prostate cancer risk in a relatively large group of older men who participated in the multicenter Osteoporotic Fractures in Men (MrOS) study.

From the participants in the MrOS study, the investigators assessed baseline serum levels of 25-hydroxy vitamin D in a randomly selected group of 1,433 men aged 65 years or older who had no history of prostate cancer and from all 297 study participants with an incident diagnosis of prostate cancer. They then explored whether there were any specific associations between 25-hydroxy vitamin D levels and incident prostate cancer, as well as the Gleason score of the 297 patients.

The results of this analysis showed the following:

  • There was no evidence of an association between serum 25-hydroxy vitamin D levels and a diagnosis of incident prostate cancer.
  • There was also no evidence of an association between serum 25-hydroxy vitamin D levels and Gleason score among the prostate cancer patients.was observed.

Now despite the fact that these investigators “found no association between serum 25-OH vitamin D levels and subsequent risk of prostate cancer,” there is still evidence to suggest — for quite other reasons — that serum vitamin D levels may have impact on mortality and quality of life for at least some people.

As we get older, our vitamin D levels may well have significant impact on our health and our “well-being.” It is certainly worth discussing this with your doctor, particularly if you have the sense that you are becoming more prone to infections or if you are just feeling a little more “run down” that when you were younger. However, what this study does seem to do is add the the accumulating evidence that vitamin D levels are not specifically associated with a risk for onset of prostate cancer.

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